TCI Friday

It seems like the week of the eBike in my life. My own is down currently with a bad battery. More on that story as it develops. Padraig and I talked about them a whole lot on The Paceline. He’s been doing a crash course on the various eBike brands and technologies. And it’s hard to imagine a future without eBikes replacing cars for more and more people.

At this point, talking about eBikes seems a bit like talking about “bikes.” In other words, what kind are you talking about. In my mind, an eBike is a city bike of some sort, but that’s not at all right. There are road, mountain and cargo versions, and there are a panoply of reasons to get an eBike, ranging from “I don’t wanna sweat on my way to work” to “I don’t want to have to pedal the climbs” to “I can’t afford a car.”

I used to worry that the advent of good, affordable eBikes would hasten the end of non-motorized bikes, aka “bikes.” I tend to resist change like most other humans. Now I see that eBikes will bring people into cycling who wouldn’t otherwise take it up. I see eBikes replacing cars and that makes our planet healthier and our streets safer. I was skeptical, but I’m in now.

Obviously, I bought an eBike.

Here’s why: First, we live at the top of a long, steep hill. It’s nice up here, but it means every ride ends with a considerable climb, not the sort of effort you want to make just to pick up some stuff at the store. Second, my son needed a way to get from school to work and home again in short order. Third, I wanted to be able to think, talk and write about the experience of riding an eBike from a position of experience. Fourth, I’m a bike nerd. I pretty much want them all.

I’ll tell you, at this point, my experience has been pretty mixed. There are reasons, and as I said earlier, there’s more on that story that I’ll share later.

For now, TCI Friday asks, do you own or have you considered an eBike? What for? Are you seeing a lot of them on the road where your are? Or even in the woods?

The Cycling Independent relies on subscribers like you. We are also fortunate to have the support of Shimano North America. They make eBike motors. Of course, they do.

Join the conversation
  1. albanybenn says

    Have not seen any E-MTBs on the local trail networks. (Albany, NY). Lots of E-Commuters/Transport bikes. Unfortunately many large electronic bike/scooters that operate by throttle. Many of these are ridden recklessly.

  2. jlaudolff says

    I don’t have one, but some of the aging ride leaders, local legends now in their seventies, are using them on group rides. Seems like a fantastic way to keep riding in your senior years.

  3. Jeff vdD says

    I don’t have an ebike and have never ridden one, but I’m 100% in favor. I’d certainly consider one for commuting, but also if I get to a point where I can’t physically keep up with my peers.

    I see them commuting in the city (Cambridge MA), but have never noticed one out road riding and only have come across one on the trails.

  4. bhackathorne says

    I have a Pedego Stretch. I looked at: Tern GSD, Radwagon, Dutch wheel on a city commuter, Yuba Spicy Curry, Surly Big Easy, and finally the Pedego Stretch. I have the same thing going on as you in that I live on top of a steep hill and while that’s good for a last blast effort after a ride, it sucks for chill around the town errands. I chose this one because the Pedego uses the LBS approach for their bikes and if I ever have an issue, then I take it in and the place has all the pieces parts to fix it. They’re also pretty fairly priced and a solid frame. My only gripe is no front suspension and you can feel that when you’re fully loaded down hitting a pothole. I use it for all of my ~5 mile trips near the house. There’s a good crop of utility bike riders around where I live. Not ubiquitous, but also not unseen. It helps that we have bike rental/stations in town that offer eBikes. I do sometimes see MTB eBikes on the trail and good for them for getting out to ride.

  5. Dan Murphy says

    No ebikes in our house – yet. There’s talk and my wife may get one in the semi-near future. She turns 66 today(!) and is looking down the ebike road. We live in the semi-boonies and there is no utilitaian use for an ebike. Just plain go-out-and-ride riding.

    My casual observation shows ebikes very popular with 60+ the RV crowd. We will take off for a month or two with our trailer, and last year we noticed lots of folks with ebikes because they’re handy for poking around when you get to a new place. That’s a good thing.

    As for myself….I know I’ll get one sometime, just not yet.

  6. trabri says

    I don’t have one but I’m open to the idea of using one for commuting/cargo applications. I see a few around my area (good) though some don’t pedal (bad).

  7. Barry Johnson says

    I used to fight it and hate/hated how the e-riders have no sense of riding etiquette and courtesy. No OYL and such. But now, as an aging lifelong road bike rider with health issues that sideline me off and on from riding, I get it. Environmentally I have always gotten it but what really made it click was offering bikes to those who can no longer ride and those who want to ride many more years than typical folks. Add the fact that some road mfgs make them looking not very different than traditional road bikes and it’s pure win. Now if we can just get the word out about riding near others properly.

  8. Rosé Dave says

    I don’t have one but they are everywhere here in Folsom, California. There is an e-bike commuter who parks one in my office garage. E-MTBs will be ripping by me tonight at our local Prairie City MTB race series. The neighborhood bike trails and regional bike trails (e.g. the American River Bike Trail) are now oft-used e-bike courses for recreational riders and commuters. Which brings me to a curmudgeon’s point: e-bikes go as fast (or faster) than strong, solo road bike riders.

    Many of those road riders have ridden with the local clubs in the area, like Cycle Folsom (my club), the Sacramento Wheelmen, the Sacramento Bike Hikers, Team Revolutions, etc. The clubs teach how to ride in groups and how to share the roads and trails with others. The etiquette ain’t perfect but it exists and the clubs provide a forum to engage with safety and user interaction matters. E-bikes don’t yet have such a culture. All those watts and no instruction on what to do with them.

    Do e-bikes lend themselves to a lone wolf culture? No need to collaborate when you can get the boost from a motor. Or can e-bikes build the kind of social culture that other bike disciplines encourage? It’s up to you e-bikers. Take care of each other and teach one another how to interact with other road and trail users.

Leave A Reply

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More